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  FOX News    Happening Now    News/Business. Jon Scott, Jenna  
   Lee. Breaking news reports. New.  

    October 30, 2013
    8:00 - 10:01am PDT  

inaccurate or as they said yesterday not precise enough, it does strike me as millions of individuals who by listening to speeches like yours boated believing one thing now find themselves without coverage and are now scrambling to find coverage in a marketplace that is often more expensive plans with fewer options. in response to my constituents calls for help, i created a portal on my website, no patches or fixes needed, that allows those who have experienced problems reach out and tell me about their personal experienc experiences. and just the last few days my office has received dozens of complaints regarding increases in their monthly premiums. i received one such notice from a mother in her early 50s who just received a notice that not only will her insurance premiums double, but she will also switch insurance, keeping the doctors due to the fact the affordable care act.
can you imagine receiving notices like this? i can tell you just in my district the 11th of georgia, this is a kin to telling seniors in a few weeks and medicare coverage will be dropped or the premiums would double. i know neither you nor the administration would ever agitate such a policy. yet here you are subjecting those currently in the individual market to such government intervention. recognizing that these increases are a heavy hardship on my constituents, on all of our constituents, republican or democrat. now i will get to my questions. you know the health care law included a hardship exemption from the individual mandate yet the administration has failed to finalize the application form for the hardship exemption three and one half years after we passed this law. as of today, can an individual
apply for a hardship exemption from the individual mandate on, yes or no? >> i don't know. >> i do. it's no. on october 15th "politico" reported that if the online system for getting into obamacare coverage is rickety, the system for getting out of the mandate doesn't even exist yet. hhs says it will take another month at least for the administration to finalize the forms for the hardship exemption from the individual mandate. why has it taken three and one half years to finalize a simple application form for an exemption from the individual mandate? >> well, sir as you know the individual mandate is not in place until next year. we have, made it very clear that if somebody is medicaid eligible in a state that doesn't choose -- >> my last question and my last second, estimated 16 million people in the individual market
have or will receive cancellation notices, stating their health insurance coverage does not meet minimum coverage requirements of the affordable care act. the bill specifically grants, you, madam secretary the power to determine cite sear yaw for hardship exemption. will you provide all of these individuals a hardship exemption since the affordable care act is taking away their plan? will you do that. >> no, sir. and i think those numbers are far from accurate. 95% of americans who have health insurance will be in a continuous plan, medicare, medicaid, employer based, va. 95%. 5% who are in the individual market, a portion of those 5%, a portion of them, about 12 million people, a fraction of those 12 million, will have a plan that doesn't meet the criteria and has not been grandfathered in. they are indeed receiving notices. many of those individuals, half
of them will be eligible for financial help, geting a new plan and they have many more choices in the marketplace. so, we will not have a blanket exemption. >> sounds like a hardship to me. >> gentleman's time has expired. ms. chris 10 shen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you madam secretary and thank you for all of i and your staff has done in implementing the affordable care act to insure it would promade many benefits to women, to medicare beneficiaries and to insure security to those ha have insurance and lower costs the biggest complaint has been about the application and enrollment website but we heard over and over from you that those are being addressed. but you would recall, and i know my colleagues will recall that congressman rush and i have always been concerned about those who do not have internet access. those who are uncomfortable
using the internet, and would not use it, so i just wanted to just remind everyone, that there are other avenues for enrolling, either by telephone, or by telephone, by paper, alone or with the help of a certified, you know, application assistant. but my question, goes to one of the rumorsthat have been circulatings. many rumors how the affordable care act affected part-time workers. some of my colleagues on the other side claim the companies are moving workers to part-time jobs because of the health care reform law, and low-wage workers are detrimentally affected. i understand the claims are made in another part of the effort to undermined the law. would you take a few minutes to address the situation on the part-time issue? >> certainly. 95% of businesses in this
country are small businesses. under 50 full-time employees, and, there is no responsibility that any of those employers have to provide health coverage for their employees. on the other hand, there are now tax credits available for some of the smaller employers who want to offer coverage, actually come into the marketplace. for the other businesses, the businesses hiring 50 or more, there is a standard that says, an employee is considered full time if he or she works 30 hours a week. and that really came from a market snapshot with help from the small business administration of where employee benefits were in the private market based on hours of work. what was a part-time or full-time employee? what we know about the economic data is the high point of part-time workers was in 2008
and 2009 at the height of the last recession. it has been decreasing each and every year. there is no data to support the fact that there is an up tick, based on the impending affordable care act. i am sure that there may be some individual employers making some business decisions about how many workers they want full time and how many they want part time. i can tell you there is no economic data or employment data that supports the notion that this is an effect of the law. >> true. in fact, it is my understanding that part-time workers are at lowest percentage of workers in many, many years right now? >> well, and for the first time, as you know, congresswoman, part-time workers will have options four affordable health coverage they have never had that before. >> absolutely. >> they have never had options in the marketplace. they never had some help purchasing coverage for
themselves and their families. their full-time colleagues have but they have not so they will have options. >> and just to be clear, i had another really long question but the last part of it, it would be fair to say that at every point along the way you expected this website to work based on everything that you had been told by the contractors up until that point? >> well, i expected it to work and i desperately want to get it working. -- >> more than anyone else i am sure. >> how frustrated i am and we are committed to fixing it. the only thing that builds back the confidence of the public ising it. >> thank you. >> general till lady's time expired. mr. scalise. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding the hearing and thank you, secretary sebelius for being with us. last week when the contractors were here i asked them all under oath had they delivered the system they were contracted to build. all four of them answered yes. i want to ask you did the contractors deliver the system thaw contracted them to build? >> i don't think i can
accurately answer that question. what we know we have a system that doesn't function properly. >> definitely know that. >> as we fix things, we will know more about what is broken along the way. and i will be able -- >> would someone in your office know, somebody in your office oversaw this implementation and received the product and they either said this is the product we contracted and paid hundreds of millions of dollars to build or it wasn't. does somebody in your office have the ability -- >> i think we can say that the products tested individually, verified individually. >> but clearly was integrated system. >> they don't work well together. >> but you know i used to write programs for a living. i developed software products for a living. if you're developing an integrated civil it is irrelevant if one isolated component works by itself when you plug it in together it doesn't work that is a system that doesn't work. one of the questions i had, others had, somebody in your agency made a decision weeks, literally weeks before the deployment to change the system,
instead after browser ability where somebody like on kayak or just like on could shop for products look at prices before they purchased, which is how consumers are used to doing it y'all made the decision to turn it around gather information first before you could let them see prices. was that you who made the decision. >> no, sir. >> was that miss tavenner. >> it was miss tavenner who looked impetsing did -- >> did this team made the decision us once they knew people saw the prices and we're getting reports of all of our constituents dramatically higher prices than they were expecting did you make the decision because you knew when they saw the prices you might not want to buy the product so you wanted to gather information first? >> sir, first, i did not make the decision. i was informed about the decision. we -- >> do you agree with the decision? >> rolling off a number of features, clearly they can see the products. there is no requirement -- >> look i spent over two hours trying to get into the system. never once got to a point where
i could see a price. got kicked out many times and got blank screens some peoplewam some of my constituents because we start ad page on our facebook and on twitter. we are collecting what is called share with scalise. people are sending us stories. we're getting lots of stories from my constituents. i want to read awe few of them. randle from mandeville, my health care premium went up 30%, to over $350 a month increase. we had michelle from slidell, our insurance premiums are going up $400 a month and our deductible has increased. then you've got sean from covington, my current plan through united health care is no longer being offered in 2014 due to obamacare. in fact i received a stating that the new health care law was reason for removal of my current health care plan. madam secretary what would you tell sean who liked his plan and has lost it and promised by you and president would be able to keep the plan. what would you tell sean now that he lost his plan?
>> i would tell sean shop in the marketplace and out of the marketplace. >> do you think that is acceptable answer to sean? >> if united chose not to keep sean's plan in effect for sean -- >> because of the law. this is the letter. >> sir, the law said, if you keep sean's plan in place, if he liked his plan, p you -- >> sean likes his plan. >> then the plan is still there. >> you and i may disagree who you work for. i work for sean. you work for sean, madam secretary. sean lost his plan that he liked. there are thousands and millions of seans throughout this country that lost the plan they liked because some bureaucrat in washington said we think you're plan is not good enough even though you liked even though promised you would keep it you're not able to keep that plan. you deserve to give sean a better answer you have to shop for something else even though you lost their plan. yield balance of my time. >> gentleman's time expired. mr. mack americanly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you madam secretary for coming today.
i will follow up on mr. doyle's line of questioning. what concern i have with the fallout from the website is that many users who tried to sign up and were discouraged because of the problems will now be too discouraged to come back once the site is fixed. so what do you plan to do to get those folks to come back? >> well, sir, we intend to invite them back. formally by email, by message but we don't want to do that until we're confident that they will have a different experience. so fixing the site is step one. and then up citing people back to the site to make a it clear that, when our timetable is fulfilled, they have four months to shop for affordable health coverage on a fully functioning site. we know we will have to spend special time and attention onioning and healthy americans who don't start outthinking they need health insurance, aren't aware of the law. certainly don't want to use a failed or flawed site. so we're going to have to spend
some particular attention on them. >> thank you. has the software specifications for the website and its related software elements including the test specialifications has that changed since the initial rollout? >> i know that there are certainly some changes because since october 1st, i'm sorry? >> yes, since the rollout, the specifications? >> the specifications haven't changed. we are certainly fixing, as i say, speed and reliance, is one of the issues we're taking a look at. that is the performance side. but there are also some functionality sides that things do not work as they including enrollment passed on to insurers. we're fixing functionality and i don't think that's a change in the specs. i think it is making the system work the way it should. >> are you, or is the department doing prioritization on the
problems? >> yes. >> could you describe that a little bit. >> yes, as of last week when jeff zeints joined us for this short-term project we asked him to lead a sort of management team. we have pulled in all of our contractors as well as additional talent that they may have available. we have talked to tech folks in and out of the private sector and insurance, some of their tech experts, to get all eyes and ears, made a full assessment, developed a plan for fixes along the way. have a punch list for going after those fixes and we are doing a daily tech briefing and blog to tell people what we have found, what we have fixed, what is coming next, what the functionality is, and we intend to do that until it is fully functional.
>> well, thank you. madam secretary, looking past the initial problems with the aca rollout, do you think the affordable care act will be successful in bending the health care cost curve and reducing the fraction of our national economy that bows to health care? >> well, i think that we have already had some success. i think that the goal is to continue to achieve that fully insured population arguably with preventative care with an opportunity to see a primary care doctor and not go through the emergency room will in and of itself reduce costs. having people identified earlier who may have serious problems in managing those problems will reduce health costs but i think the delivery system also needs some considerable help in paying for not, a number of procedures, number of tests, number of prescriptions but paying for health outcomes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. latta.
>> well, thank you very much, mr. chairman and madam secretary, thanks very much for being with us today. i appreciate your testimony so far today. what i would like to do, i will get these few, so many questions, that we have received from our constituents back home, specifically about what is going on with the website and for them. and so what i will do i like to get those to you but there's a lot of questions here and a lot of thoughts going into a lot of these questions but if i could start with last week's testimony when our, four of the contractors were here. and in one of the questions that i had posed to ms. campbell from cgi, in her testimony she had stated they delivered the and and i asked at that time were these sites more or less complicated than the site we're talking about here today? and she said, of course this site today was more complicated
and the questioning, and from her testimony, and we've been hearing about this end to end testing that wasn't happening, that we had individuals out there saying that about two weeks had been done, but i would ask her about, was there a sufficient enough time when they did the response that she gave me back was, on, which was a less complicated site, and she stated that we had sufficient time to test the system before it went live. and i asked her, in a follow-up then, what was that sufficient time? and she said, we had a number of months before the system went live at that time. and then, and i just, want to make sure because again, you know, sometimes things don't get reported accurately. but, in the "u.s. news & world report" on october the 11th of this year and there are some -- october the 18th. i want to make sure that you were quoted properly. after two weeks of review the
hhs secretary said we didn't have enough testing specifically for high volumes for a very complicated project the online insurance marketplace needed five years of construction, a year of testing she said. we had two years and almost no testing s that correct? >> i don't know the quote. i never suggested that we needed five years. >> okay. >> i don't know what that is from? >> that is one of the things i want to check. >> we clearly did not ever have five years. the law was signed in march of 2010. >> last week when you were down in texas you were being asked by a reporter about the system and the launch and one of the parts of the question was, that at what point did you realize the system wasn't going to be working the way you envisioned before the launch and why didn't we stop it before the launch? and again, this is what was reported. we knew that if we had another six months we probably test further but i don't think anyone
fully realized both the volume of cause such problems but volumes also exposed some of the problems we had. now, going back though to miss campbell's statement that they tested more extensively on a system that was not as complicated, but hhs, cms, decided to go forward, was on a very short period of testing. do you think that was acceptable? >> clearly looking back, it would have been ideal to do it differently. we had a product that frankly people have been waiting decade to have access, affordable health care. medicare existed well before the website. medicare is a program that started 50 years ago. the website was an additional feature for consumer ease and comfort and so they were not launching medicare. they were not delivering health benefits to seniors. they were putting together an
additional way to enroll in medicare. i would suggest that, sir, that we had deadlines in the law, that people had benefits starting january 1st. we wanted a, extensive open enrollment period so that a lot of people who were not familiar with insurance didn't know how to choose a doctor, choose a plan, had never been in this marketplace, or people needed to understand fully what the law offered had ample time to do that. so the date that i was again required to select was part of the statute. how long would open enrollment be? we picked that date. all the contractors that began early in this process, in the fall of 2010 when we issued, i'm sorry 2011 when we issued the initial contracts to cgi and qssi, knew the october 1st date. that was not changed, it wasn't added to.
as we got closer to the system one of the reasons again that we pared down what needed to launch on october 1st was an attempt to minimize the risks to the system, to get people to their ability to see clearly what they were entitled to, what the plans were and if they chose to, to enroll. clearly the testing should have been longer, should have been more sufficient. >> gentleman's time expired. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> mr. braley. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, people who are watching this hearing might be under the assumptions that there is some kind of political debate going on over the affordable care act but i think people in iowa don't care anything about who is winning the political debate. they want these problems fixed and they want them fixed now and i think that is the responsibility of everyone in this room, to make sure that that happens. i tried to go into the marketplace on october 7th. and i encountered problems immediately dealing with the
security code questions which required you to select dates. one of them was type a significant date in your life. today is my birthday. so i put that in. i tried three different ways of entering that date and got a message each time, important, this is not a valid answer. same thing for the third date entry. and a lot of times when you're registering online for anything and you have to put a date in, there will be a little prompt there that tells you what the format is you're required to enter. do you know, have we solved this problem and in the security code area? >> yes, sir. one of the initial issues getting people into the site. the i.d. proofing which is a two-step process. one thaw give some preliminary information and set up a password. but the second to insure that your personal data can't be hacked, can't be interfered
with, is the second step where some personalized questions can be verified by you are indeed part of that hold-up in the system. we focus a lot of attention. it was fixed only to discover that the there were system problems throughout the application. and, that piece has been fixed but i would suggest that it also was a function of trying to make sure we had the highest security standards. that we were not cavalier about someone's personal information being able to be addressed and attached and it was a functionality that didn't perform properly but does now. >> one of the things that keeps coming up in this hearing because you are from kansas references to the "wizard of oz" and people went to see the wizard because of the wonderful things that he did. and the affordable care act is doing a lot of great things in
iowa. "the des moines register" wrote, iowans buying health insurance on the government's new online marketplace will face some of the lowest premiums in the country. it is increasing competition in our state. iowa consumers are able to choose from 40 health plans in the marketplace. you mentioned the growth of health care spending is at the slowest rate in 50 years. 50,000 iowa seniors have received prescription drug rebates. bans on preexisting conditions are allowing people to get coverage and switch carriers. now insurance premium increases are subject to review and can be rejected by the, the people reviewing those plans. but all of these good things don't mean anything unless we solve these problems and, what i need to know is how confident are you that the problems will be fixed by december 1st? >> well, again, congressman, i have committed to that date
because because that the assessment inside and outside experts analyzed. they kicked all the tires and looked at all the system. i know there is no confidence in the date until we deliver on the date. i'm well aware of that and that's on me. >> since americans were supposed to have six months to sign up would you support insuring they still have six months by extending open enrollment period for two more months? >> at this point, congressman, they will have a fully four months, fully functional all ways to sign up. and again there are alternate ways and the website right now that people are getting through. the, open enrollment period is extraordinarily long. it is six times as long as typical generous open enrollment period. it is important for the inspurns partners know who is in the pool and stay in the market next year
and know who they are insuring. we think the timetable will allow people, four months time to fully use the website. they can use it right now. they can use the call center. they can go to navigatetors. they can enroll. >> gentleman's time has expired. mr. harper. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you madam secretary, for being here today. i'm sure there are other things you would rather be doing but we welcome the opportunity to have this information conversation. i'm going to ask the clerk to bring you a document for to you look at so i can ask you a couple questions. if you can go to page 8 on that i have highlighteding an item there but this is a copy of a cgi slide show from october 11 discussing technical issues that must be addressed within the website. on page 8 of what i have handed you cgi recommended that cgi and cms have a review board to agree on which issues can technically
be solved and which should politically be solved. was such a review board convened? >> sir, i can not tell you, i have never seen this document and i'm not aware of this recommendation. >> but cgi is responsible for the website, correct? >> cgi is responsible for the application. >> for the application of this. >> yes, sir. >> does it surprise you in the slide show they gave october 11th they acknowledged political reasons for -- about this. >> sir, i have never seen this document. i have no idea what that means. did you ask cgi when they came last week? >> can you find out for us if such a review board was done and if any decisions were made on political reasons or any other reasons and find that out for us? >> sir, i, that question needs to go to cgi but i can, i can is them to report to you. >> well, if you would do that. >> this is their document if i understand it. this is not our document. >> yes. would you turn to page 9 of that document please.
it states challenges on page 9 in this presentation by cgi and it says, under challenges, unable to determine at this time whether low enrollment counts are attrittable to system issues or due to users choosing not to select or enroll in a plan. so those are two different issues obviously if it is a system issue that is something you have confidence at some point will be resolved, correct? >> yes, sir. >> and if it's a user selection issue that is entirely different story, is it not? >> yes, sir. >> okay. now you know when you used the phrase earlier about a punch list, that's, that's like having somebody move into a house. someone buying a new house and they go through and they have been told this house will be ready for to you move in on october 1st. they load up the van, they come in and they get in and it is not finished. part of the plumbing is not right. the wiring's wrong and they go in. this creates the situation
where, you know, we health care shouldn't be a zero-sum game. we want to be fair or everyone. we want to help people vulnerable, but at same time we shouldn't have to hurt folks. at the same time people in my district and state getting notices of cancellation. they're being told of higher premiums they're having. this is great concerns we have and how do we work through that i want to say i appreciate you accepting responsibility for these initial royalout failures that we've had but, who is ultimately responsible? it is the president, correct? >> for the website? >> the president, the president is ultimately responsible for, for the rollout, ultimately. >> no, sir, no, sir. we are responsible for the rollout. >> but who do you answer to? >> i answer to the president. >> okay. so is the president not ultimately responsible, like a company ceo would be? >> sir, he is the president of
the united states. i have given him regular reports and, those, i am responsible for the implementation of the affordable care act. that is what he asked me to do and that is what i will continue to do. >> you're saying that the president is not responsible for hhs? >> sir, i didn't say that. >> okay. so the president ultimately is responsible, while i think it is great that you're a team player and taking responsibility, it is the president's ultimate responsibility, correct? >> you clearly, whatever. yes, he is the president. is responsible for government programs. >> my time expired. >> gentleman's time expired. >> mr. luann. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much, before i begin like unanimous consent to submit into the record articles from the new mexico publications, albuquerque journal. health exchange will save me $1,000 a month. >> without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i see my time did begin there. i will try to get through this,
mr. chairman. madam, secretary, i was intrigued by a line of questioning by congressman green asking questions about the individual marketplace. how volatile was the individual marketplace before the affordable care act became law? >> i would say it wasn't a marketplace at all. it was unprotected, unregulated and people were really on their own. >> madam secretary, the kaiser family foundation report that is over 50% churn out of individual that have coverage in the individual market. churn out of coverage every year. they either lose coverage, they're priced out or drop it. is that consistent with what you're aware of? >> that is accurate snapshot. about a third of people are in for about six months and over half are inn for a year or less. >> so individuals that were in the individual marketplace before the passage of the affordable care act did not have the same protection that is those in group coverage? >> that's true. >> and would those individuals in the individual marketplace sometimes have higher co-pays?
>> higher co-pays, unlimited out-of-pocket costs, for often coverage that was medically underwritten or excluded whatever medical condition they had in the first place. >> so these were typically one-year contracts, if they used a plan because they got sick or in a car accident or a victim of domestic violence, sometimes they would be thrown off their plans or their rates would go up? >> yes. >> i think that's important to note, madam secretary, and i'm intrigued as well that my understanding is that last month hhs conducted analysis and found the nearly six out of 10 uninsured americans getting coverage through the marketplace will pay less than $100 per month, is that correct? >> they will have a plan available for less than $100 if that is their choice, yes. >> that number would be even higher, would be better if more states chose the option of using federal fund to expand medicaid to of cover their low income population? >> very definitely. that is just a marketplace snapshot. those are people who will be in the marketplace. >> madam secretary, i don't
think that heard anyone from the other side of the aisle today, my republican colleagues, ask you how can congress work with you and support you in fixing this website and fixing this problem? i hope that we all agree we want this website fixed. i would yield to anyone that would disagree? seeing no one accepting that, i am glad to hear that we agree with this. now, madam secretary, what can congress do to work with you to fix this website? >> well i'm not sure that there is hands on work that you can do maybe we have some technical expertese but i would say getting accurate information to constituents is helpful. letting people know that they can check out the facts and the law. that they may entitled to some financial support. that cancellation of policies means that the policy that they had may not exist but they have a lot of choices of new policies and a law that now says that they must be insured in a new
policy. that they don't have to be insured by their company at a higher price. >> i appreciate that, madam secretary. going back to the individual marketplace, madam secretary, did this congress in previous years before the affordable care act make it illegal for health insurance companies to raise rates on some one after they submit ad claim going to the hospital or becoming sick or getting rid of preexisting conditions? >> no, sir. >> madam secretary, one last note here. it seems we received horrible news there are bad actors already taking place of fraudulent websites to imitate the health care exchange or misleading seniors into disclosing personal information. i signed on to a letter to you led by colleague representative ruiz out of california that you prioritize fraud prevention efforts. what has the administration done to prevent fraudulent acts and protect personal information? >> i can tell you, congressman, the president felt very strongly that needed to be part of our outreach effort which is why our
attorney general and i convened representatives of states attorney generals and insurance commissioners and u.s. attorneys and the justice department and the federal trade commission which has jurisdiction to make sure that we first got out ahead of some of this developing consumer outreach. no one should ever give personal health information because personal health information is not needed for these policies any longer. that's a red flag. we want to make sur people turn over potential fraudulent acts. we have put training in place for navigators. we have our law enforcement -- >> gentleman's time has expired. i would just note that we, with indulgence of the secretary, we're hoping that we can have all members ask some questions but we also know with four minutes we'll have a little trouble. so i'm going to ask unanimous consent we try to limit our questions and answers to know more than two minutes. and i talked to mr. waxman. is that okay?
because otherwise we will, the there will be a lot of folks who will not be able to ask a question at all. >> three of us. >> mr. chairman, i would submit to if the questions, get submitted we would be happy to provide timely answers as well. >> can i do that? so with that, we'll try two minutes?? >> mr. lance. i guess i won -- >> i guess i won lottery on two minutes, madam secretary. >> time has expired. >> 20 seconds, mr. chairman. on the website, madam secretary, the contractors testified last week that they needed more than two weeks for end to end testing. why in your opinion was there not more than two weeks? >> again, we had products, the insurance policies themselves by companies were loaded into the system. so we had, we could test up until then but it wasn't until
september, mid september that was done. and again the contractors said we would have loved more testing time but we think we're ready to go ahead. >> i believe that ultimately will be a dispute between cm s&h hs and contractors. if there is anything we can do regarding that because obviously that didn't work and i had thought given signature issue of the president the website would be ready. number two in my judgment the president's statements were overstatements. four pinnochios is indication of that. there's a report in the new jersey newspapers this morning that 800,000 people in new jersey who purchased their policies in individual or small employer markets will be affected by this. mr. walden in a previous question mentioned the fact that, in an individual market you would be able to keep your policy, grandfathered yet regulations issued by hhs say
that grandfathered status would not be continued for so much as a 5-dollar change in a co-pay. is that accurate? and do you believe that is a significant change? >> sir, we gave, i think in the grandfather regulations a guide for how pricing could change, medical inflation and i think in most cases plus 15%. there were some individual consumer outfacing issues that were more rigid than that but i would say in terms of having companies being able to collect a profit margin, that was certainly built into the grandfather statute from the begining. >> i think that is too little a change, respectfully. >> the gentleman's time has expired. mr. tunkel. >> thank you, mr. chair and welcome, honorable secretary. thank you for fielding our questions and for responding
when you were extended the courtesy to offer a response. as a strong supporter of the affordable care act i'm frustrated and i think it is fair to say that the american people are frustrated as well, and i heard you here many times this morning say you're frustrated. i think buy by and large people want this law to work. when i talk to folks at home in the capital region of new york who i represent, people who opposed law initially aren't rooting for the failure of the affordable care act. instead they want congress to come together to fix these problems so we can move on to real issues that matter like creating jobs and growing the economy of the my home state of new york which also experienced website problems at the outset has now completed enrollment determinations on over 150,000 new yorkers. with more than 31,000 having already signed up for quality, low-cost health insurance. given that many states had success in overcoming these initial website issues has hhs looked at what the state
websites are doing as it searches for solutions to fix >> absolutely. we shared a lot of the information going in. i think that the hub feature we have in our website all states are using including the state of new york is fullly functional. that is good news for new york, california and others running their own state websites. but we are learning from them. we've shared information with them and we, we are eager for all the help and assistance moving forward. >> thank you. similarly many states made the illogical choice rejecting medicaid expansion contained in the hca that would have help some of their poorest situations get access to health care situation. despite the fact that medicaid expansion is almost entirely financed by federal dollars. can you comment on hhs's plan in the future to encourage states to run their own marketplaces and expand medicaid as the law was designed? >> absolutely.
most recently the last week the state of ohio did move into the medicaid market and we now have 30 governors. 27 states have fully completed the process. another three are in the process, republicans and democrats some who sued us about the constitution gnat of the act who are now deciding that, for the citizens of their state they want to be part of the expanded medicaid. we'll continue to have the conversations. it is not just about marketplace. it is also about medicaid. >> thank you. >> gentleman's time expired. mr., dr. cassidy. >> you said that only if, an individual policy is only canceled if it changes significantly but to be clear, after may 2010, if coinsurance went up by any amount, even by a dollar according to your regulations, that would not qualify as a grandfathered clause, just to add that out
there for the record. i gather even by a dollar. that said, i get a letter from someone in my district, adrian, she says that, she lost her coverage. she lost her coverage because spousal coverage is gone. she has gone on the exchange. doesn't qualify for a subsidy. but that her premium and out-of-pocket costs under any plan is $10,000 a year. she feels, she writes, this she feels betrayed by her government. she has to sit there asking herself is this fair? if you were she, do you think this would be fair? >> dr. cassidy, i want to start by, the amount that you gave is not accurate. i was told $5, not a dollar. >> that is for co-pay. not for coinsurance. for coinsurance it is any amount. i have limited time. do you think, if you were she, if you were adrienne, is this fair? losing spousal coverage, 10-k, no subsidies? >> sir i don't have any idea what she is looking at.
again what we've based on seen in the market what we've seen in the plans, people will get full insurance for the first time and -- >> again, this is what she reports. do you think it is fair, what you reports is true do you think it is fair. >> i can't answer. >> okay. >> fair or not fair. i don't know what she was paying. >> that's okay. let's move on. >> did she have full insurance? >> richard writes that his daughter received a note premium is going up because she is being lumped with older, costlier patients. now it is possible the only people sign up who are more costly. does hhs have plans on what to do if only those who are more costly sign up and premiums rise for everybody? >> i think, sir that is what we're trying to do to make sure that -- >> if only costly sign up, do you have plans? if you accept that -- >> importance of the individual mandate that you have just outlined. getting rid of preexisting conditions. >> but if only, but if only costly sign up do you have backup plans? >> we will encourage others to sign up. it is why there's penalty in
place. >> so you assume there are no backup plans? >> gentleman's time has expired. mr. yarmuth. >> thank you, mr. chairman, madam secretary, nice to see you. i come to the hearing with a little bit perfect sieve. -- perspective. kentucky is doing a great job with our exchange. 300,000 people explored the website. 59,000 started applications. 31,000 are now fully enrolled and new coverage and 5000 just in the last week and i think very importantly, more than 400 businesses have begun applying for their employees as well the idea somehow this would be bad for businesses is not borne out in kentucky. would it be safe to say if 36 states had done what kentucky, new york, california had done than 14 the rollout would have been much smoother and website would have been much easier to construct? >> i don't think there is any question that the in january of
2013, we knew how many states were not running their own website, in i think mid-february. we learned about partnerships so it was not until that point that we learned that 36 states would actually be coming through the website. having said that we should have anticipated, we should have planned better. we should have tested better. i don't think that is any excuse. we're clearly runing a very different vehicle for enrollment than we thought we were going to run in march of 2010. >> on the subject of cancellation of policies, isn't it true that first of all, the federal government can't require insurance companies to sell insurance is it. >> that he they can't -- >> federal government can't require insurance companies to sell insurance? >> yes. >> in fact insurance companies are all over the can country are making very difficult decisions where they don't want to participate and where they don't and in some markets they're trying to get out of the market, canceling people because they want to play in other markets and so forth. they're all making those
decisions now. >> we know we have more insurers, 25%, more insurers in the individual market than we did prior to the law packed. >> so a lot of dynamics going on here. are not necessarily an indication that the president misled anybody. business decisions being made all over now? >> well in cancellation of policies, again, that one-year contract notice is a routine in the individual market. it has been in place for years. they're beingof people they are canceled because they're being notified. you can no longer be medically underwritten. we can't charge you more because you're a woman. we won't ever have the kind of limitations on what your policy can pay out is charge you exorbitant out-of-pocket rates. those policies will cease to be offered in the marketplace. >> gentleman's time has expired. mr. guthrie. >> thank you, madam secretary for being here. last week mr. lau from second
quarter cowas -- serco was here. president talked about alternatives to the website and calling or using paper application. what you said with the phone, but they take the paper application but enter into the web portal. you get around issue getting logged off but there issues with data in the web portal. you can't even get reliable data who is even signed up. he also said because of surge in paper applications like six to eight weeks to process. so if november 30th when this will be ready they can use, and even if you do it now, eight weeks you're getting close to january 1st. somebody does lose their insurance, so signing up for this and they get to january 1st, even though you have a march 31st open enrollment what happens, is there contingency plan for these people to continue their insurance. >> sir, i think that we have improvements every day on the speed of the site. serco was giving you early
snapshots of difficulty of accessing the site. i think that is greatly improved. >> they said just processing paper actually. >> well, i understand it is the site for, they put the application into the site and get a determination. that is part of what the process. the site is part of of the portal all the way through. >> right. >> this is an integrated insurance vehicle so that will improve and we again, with four months of continuous service, which is far longer than most people had, some of these cancellation numbers, mr. guarranty again pointed this out from florida blue cross, but true of everyone else, these are not january 1st numbers. they're year-long numbers. so over the course of 2014 when an individual's policy is due to expire, that individual -- >> somebody could expire january 1st and not be able to get coverage if the website, and vendor said they needed months to test, they would have liked to have months and months to test.
that's what they said. we're getting november even works november 30 -- >> i say we're testing as we go. there are beta testing going on right now. that is how we're fixing and identifying things. people are getting through every day and -- >> i'm out, paper process if it takes even four weeks then november 30th and people are canceled january 1st, there needs to be contingency for that person. >> well again, typical insurance is two to four weeks of sign-up. they will have, two full months of sign-up. >> gentleman's time has expired. misteach us cues ski -- miss schakowsky, thank you for bringing to millions of americans accuse affordable, comprehensive health care coverage that will be there when they need i want to thank you especially as woman. being a woman can no longer being considered a preexisting condition. women is can no longer be charged more than a man for the same coverage. women have access to comprehensive benefits like prescription drugs and
prepreventative screenings and free contra sent tiff coverage and maternity care often left out of coverage and days of complicated pregnancy or diabetes or domestic violence being a preexisting condition, those days are over. you know i want to say to my come like after a 3 1/2 year campaign repeal, to discredit, to even shut down the government over obamacare, i want to say, get over it. we all agree that there are problems but these are problems that i sigh being fixed. and so, i want to, to ask one, i want to, say that, what we did under medicare part-d can be an example of how we can work together and in fact, chairman upton and i, both sent a letter asking for more money, for community based groups to help implement the program and make it work.
we can work together. so if you could just briefly say, how are the navigators, how important are they, in making this system work for the american people? >> well, what we know, congresswoman, a lot of people are not web savvy and are not frustrated by the website because they don't have a computer, they don't want to use a computer, they don't trust a computer. they need a live human being to ask questions, get questions answered, talk about the plan, talk about insurance. so the navigators play a hugely-important role. we have about 2500 trained navigatetores on the ground right now. we have thousands more, community assistters trained and ready to go. 45,000 agents and brokers have gone through specific affordable care act training but those individuals working with their clients, customers and in the case of navigators and community as sisters, just the public at large. they are not paid by a company. not collecting a fee, they want
to help people get coverage, they're hugely important. >> gentlelady's time expired. mr. olsen. >> i thank the chair around welcome, madam secretary. >> i like o open with a quote from american icon, hold up a poster. it says, if user is having a problem, it's our problem. i'm glad to hear that you embrace this philosophy during your testimony today, ma'am. obamacare was signed into law 1256 days ago. since then there has been user problems after user problem after user problem. regarding, your deputy administrator for consumer information, gary cohen, testified one month ago, right where you're sitting that, this i quote, cms has worked hard to test the infrastructure that will allow americans to enroll in coverage
confidentially, simply, and securely end quote. yet, according to "forbes", and "wall street journal", you told them that you needed five years of construction and one year of testing. the program has crashed and burned at least three times. and user is still having problems. get up here, ma'am. it has been down the whole time you've been testifying. the system is down at this moment. my question, ma'am, is very simple, when did you know the changes were going down, a month, a day, a quarter and did you tell the president what you knew? >> sir, i was informed that we were ready to launch on october 1st. the contractors who we had as our private partners told us and told this committee that they
had never suggested a delay and that is accurate. our cms team felt we were ready to go. i told the president that we were ready to go. clearly i was wrong. we were wrong. i, we knew that in any big, new, complicated system there would be problems. no one ever imagined the volume of issues and problems that we've had, and we must fix it. >> yes, ma'am. credible journalists you needed six years -- >> that quote has been repeated. i can guaranty you, i would have never stated that because the law was passed in march of 2010. i chose the open enrollment date. i don't know know where that quote comes from but that is not from me. >> gentleman's time has expired. mr. barrow. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thanks for attending, madam secretary. i suspect deep down most people on committee support concept of more insurance coverage.
we have disagreement means used to get to the end which is why i voted against affordable care act. seems every day we're hearing something new going wrong. i'm concerned short-term enrollment problems could become long term insurance market problems. my constituents are already losing confidence in federal government's ability to pull this thing off. only way to restore the trust and delay the individual mandate penalties until we sure the system will be work. not fair to penalize consumers when non-compliance is not their fault. we need time to make sure additional fits and starts will not cause larger problems. i'm less concerned about who is to blame, more concerned what went wrong how we will fix it and assure doesn't happen again. nearly all our constituents wanwant and need health inches sures. if it would be huge mistake we're blinded by love or hate by obamacare we refuse to the address the flaws. technical problems becoming market problems. can problems of folks getting into the system snowball into risk pool problems where those who choose not to enroll could
affect the cost of those who do choose to enrole? >> certainly, a risk pool needs a balanced market so you need people who are older and sicker to be balanced with people who are younger and healthier. that is how a pool works. >> at what point are we going to see a problem having the risk pool if the tech problems cause affecting folks who are entering? what are we going to look for? what are we going to use to decide something needs to be done? >> again, sir, we'll be monitoring the during the sick months of open enrollment and will the insurance partners who is many coulding into the pool. that is why we want to give this committee and others rye liable, informed, data about not only who it is but what the demographics are and where they live. that is part of -- >> if things aren't better by end of this next month, at what point are we starting to think about further delays imposing penalties? >> again i think having a defined open enrollment period is one of ways you make an assessment if you have a pool that works or not. you can not have unlimited open
enrollment period, with any insurance company because that really doesn't work. >> thank you. >> mr. mckinly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. last week, last week the cgi representative, campbell said, she had met her contract obligations and met the specifications. and she said only problem she had with pace, but the pace wasn't part of the specification. do you, and which asked her what you would, what would you testify to. she said you would testify that she did complete her contract in accordance with the specifications. would you? >> sir, i don't think until the product is working the way it's designed to work that anybody has finished their job. that is really my interest. >> i'm sorry, we're time, they have shortened our time with it. so, if she hasn't, she hasn't met their specifications but yet we're still using her is the
american taxpayer still paying money to fix the problems that she didn't do, and her company didn't do? the first place? >> none of our contractors have been paid of the amount of -- >> will she be paid for this work into the future as we go to correct this problem. >> we'll make the determination as the work goes forward. i will tell you, sir, as we learn what is fixed, we'll know more about -- >> sorry with the time frame cut it down. who owns the software now? that now that this has been developed with taxpayer money to develop the software to do -- >> it is owned by centers for medicare, medicaid services. >> it is all owned by us. will they be able to use it by license for other clients? >> not to my knowledge. i think it is specifically designed for the marketplace with these products in mind. >> thank you. then last question trying to work in time frame is that, under, iv and v much, she testified that she thought that is something we should have done. under hh such, you recommend or
or hhs recommends that for software development that they should have an independent verification of validation program but it wasn't used in this case. can you share with us, time that's gone were we didn't use ivv. >> i don't think that is accurate, sir. at every point along the way there is independent testing. >> independent? >> gentlemen time. has expired. sebelius: i will get you the information, but there are three levels of testing. one is independent for every piece of this contract, yes.
>> good morning. when open enrollment began, the people in florida helping their neighbors sort through the new options for coverage that the navigators were taken aback by how grateful people are to have new pathway to the doctor's office and the care they need, affordable options. they are no longer being discriminated against because they had cancer. and diabetes or asthma, and they are very grateful. they said it's like they found water in the desert. right now surprisingly they said it is taking time because people want to thro sort through all of their options before they sign up at the end of the 26 weeks enrollment period. so we must fix the marketplace, we must to meet their
expectations. and we have very high expectations for you and for the administration. but i think it is important to point out the affordable care act is more than just a website. despite all the obstruction by the republicans, going so far as to shut down the government, millions of americans are already benefiting. the benefits are not tied to read let's clarify what is working. is it correct to say many of the improvements they make unemployment coverage and the medicare were the vast majority of americans receive coverage are not dependent on sebelius: that's correct. >> they do not affect the millions of individuals who did not any longer have to deal with monetary cap's on their coverage that previously sent them to bankruptcy? >> i think the quote the
president was quoted recently saying if you have health care, you don't have to sign up was referring to the large portion, the 95% of insured americans whose plans to stay in phas plad move forward did speak out i don't understand why people are not similarly outraged by the lack of medicare coverage. do you find that hypocritical? sebelius: i think it is very troublingoñ millions of low ince working americans will still have no affordable option if states don't take advantage of the expansion program leaving states bearing the cost of care, parents cannot take care of their kids, workers not able to go to work and people accessing care through emergency room doors. the most expensive, least effective care they can get.
>> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you secretary sebelius for being here. this is a letter my family got canceling our insurance. we chose to have our own private policy back in colorado so we could be in the same boat as everyone of my constituents. and yet my insurance policy has been canceled. the white house website says if you like your health plan you have, you can keep it. did i hear it wrong? sebelius: again, sir, don't know how long you have had your policy. >> why aren't you losing your health insurance? >> because i am part of the federal employees-- >> why aren't you in the exchange? sebelius: up because i'm part of the federal employees health care plan. >> why won't you going to be exchange? you are literally in charge of this law. should you be any different than all the other americans out there who are losing their health insurance? sebelius: i'm part of the 95% with the affordable available health insurance. >> most americans are not
available to them. sebelius: i'm not eligible for the exchange. because i have coverage. >> you can drop the coverage of your employer. sebelius: that is not true, sir. members of congress are now part of the exchange things to an amendment added by congress, but i am not eligible. if i have affordable coverage in my workplace, i am not eligible to go into the marketplace. that's part of the law. >> madam secretary, i would encourage you to be like the american people and enter the exchange. sebelius: it's illegal. >> i would like to show you an advertisement going on in colorado right now. this is an advertisement a board member of the colorado exchange has put forward. do you agree with this kind have advertising for obamacare? it is a college student doing a kickstand. sebelius: if they did that marketplace.
>> do you approve of this kind of advertising? sebelius: i don't see it, don't know what it is, this is a state approved. >> that is pretty big font. you can take the insurance. sebelius: if i have available employer-based coverage-- >> like to offer you to waive the obamacare for the fourth congressional district. >> the gentlemen time has expired. mr. matheson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and madam secretary, thanks for your time. i just want to ask on the issue of the fixes of, we have had a lot of conversations about that today. levels being ready by a certain time. i think one question a lot of us have is can you define with the magnitude of the problem is?
is there a scale or a metric by which we can understand how bad this is today and how we are going to get to where we go to have it fixed? sebelius: again, sir, i have been informed the problems are in the reports i have seen are really in two areas. there in the performan area which is speed and reliability. it is too slow, it doesn't have reliable transfers and in functionality. there are parts that do not make accurate transfers. we have done an extensive assessment. they are prioritized as i indicated earlier. one of the priorities is the enrollment features which pass individual information to the companies where they want to enroll, but is not reliable at this point. the companies are not getting accurate data. it is the example of the things we need to fix. >> have you set up your metrics to see if we have made progress fixing those issues with speed
and performance and functionality? sebelius: again, with the team and at the head of it reporting to maryland, there are definitely comprehensive sets going forward that will be measured accelerated. >> do you target dates if you want to meet the time to make sure it is functional, do you have metrics to make sure you're on that path? >> my understanding is yes, there are groups of targets that fixes can be loaded together. it isn't one at a time so they don't take days, but they are trying to determine with a specific test one of the charges that qssi has really looking at the umbrella of what needs to be fixed, prioritizing, figuring out what destabilizes if something else is fixed, how they can be grouped together and that report will be in later
this week. >> gentlemen, your time has expired. >> thank you. i want to talk about kansas a little bit today. much like with some of my colleagues making references to "the wizard of oz." i don't think anybody out of kansas should be able to do. those folks worked awfully hard to go down the yellow brick road. when they got there to pull back the curtain they found there was nothing they didn't already have. as we pull back the curtain on the affordable care act, it will not be what they worked so hard to find their way to so hard. there is a commitment if you like your plan, you can keep it. i have a record i will submit to the record, i found it the other night, he got a letter from blue cross blue shield same because your care does not offer the standard specified, you will be discontinued on december 31. pizza hut, you know the company from kansas, franchisees founded
there. a lot have not taken employees. families working there, gone from full-time jobs two part-time jobs. so they are not able to keep the health care plan they had either and they won the wanted. what do you tell -- why were the plans these folks had good enough when you were the insurance commissioner in kansas and kansas governor but those plans today are not good enough for those hard-working kansas families? sebelius: sir, i would tell you in the roles i have the honor of serving up in kansas, i work every day to try and eliminate some of the discriminatory features of the insurance industry that finally with the affordable care act are gone. my successor and elected insurance republican commissioner and i worked on a whole series of plans to expand govern. i did work on these issues. we were not able to necessarily--
>> so you say these were, i think you said lousy plans. not true insurance. you think the plans that were offered when you are the insurance commissioner weren't true insurance? >> and individual market the insurance commissioner in kansas and virtually every place in the country does not have regulatory authority over the plan. >> where they true insurance plans when you are in place? sebelius: a lot of them are not >> i yield back. >> admin from vermont. >> i'm going to try to summarize quickly what i have been hearing. the website must be fixed bid you have been very forthright and will fix it. number two, hearing a tone change. with a real battle of health care. we had a battle in this congress, and was passed, the president signed it, the supreme court confirmed it. there was an election where the american people affirmed it. and the last effort was to shut down in the threat of debt default. what i'm hearing today is there are problems and people want to fix them because all of us
represent people who will win or lose depending on how this is rolled out. there is significant question of existing insurance policies. let's acknowledge something. a lot of insurance companies were ripping off innocent american people by promising them insurance until they got sick and then it got canceled because they had a pre-existing condition that wasn't disclosed. that has got to end. the challenge for us going forward is to make health care affordable. so madam secretary, my question is, is there any indication there has been a slowing of premium increases as a result of the affordable care act? because unless we can keep the premium increases down, you cannot rise faster than the flight of inflation and profits, all of us will lose. sebelius: house of the trend in the private market over the last three and half years are that
cost increases have slowed down, rising at a lower rate than the decades before. in this individual market, old individual market the typical increase was 16% year in, year out. often that came with additional medical underwriting. it gives you a sense of how the cost were. we understand medicare medicare costs are down. the decayed cost had a decrease per capital last year, not an increase per capita and health care costs are down. these rates in the new marketplace have come in about 16% lower on average than was projected. not by us, but by the congressional budget office and we know in many of these markets they are much more competitive. i believe in market competitiveness. the states where the most states are participating have the lowest rates. new companies have come in
significantly below the old monopoly companies that often dominated this individual marketplace. we are in a pathway. you're absolutely right, affordable coverage at the end of the day for everybody is the goal. >> madam secretary. i'm trying to be sure you're out of here by 12:30 before we start the second round of questions. mr. kissinger. sebelius: that was a joke, right? >> madam secretary, thank you for being here. you said earlier you give the president gregor updates on the marketplace. the president stated he knew nothing about the status of the functionality of the marketplace. how often what were the subject of those updates? sebelius: i think there were a series of regular meetings with the president, with some of the federal partners, with offices of the white house on a monthly basis giving reports on policy
and where we were going. none of those involve detail operational discussions, that wasn't the level it was are we coming together, we have companies and plans. >> when it comes to the president of the united states, you have to see the overview, but in terms of the actual functionality whether it is the website or the marketplace, legitimately caught off guard. >> i assured him that we were ready to go. everybody knew there were likely to be some problems. no one anticipated this level of problem. >> and where is a hhs getting the money to pay for these fixes? have you used your authority to move money to pay for the cost of implement in the president's health care program? and if so from which programs have you drawn money to help
with the fix? sebelius: it has been two years since we have had a budget, and we also have not had at the presidents requested implementation budgets authorized by the congress, each of those years we have used not only resources internally, but i have legal transfer authority that i've used in an nonrecurring defense fund. we will get you all of those responses. there is money that is specifically designed for either outreach and education, the health centers have hired education average people as part of their outreach for personnel. it is a related cause. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
thank you, madam secretary, for being here. my understanding is a lot of the companies, insurers that have been offering plans in the individual market, the ones sending out these notices are actually repositioning themselves in the health insurance exchange to offer alternative plans. is that correct? sebelius: yep. >> in addition to those insurers and the individual market, you now have a lot of other companies and insurers providing plans the health care market. sebelius: that is true. >> i went to buy orioles tickets a while back when the season was underway and i was standing in line and got up to the ticket window and they closed the window. but i didn't have to go home because they opened another window a few feet away. essentially what's happening ass people are coming up on their renewal time, they're told that window is closed but if you go
right down the line here there is another window that is open. and by the way, when you get there, you will get better coverage, potentially at reduce premiums and if you go down to window three there are some subsidies may also be available to you. so this notion that people are being turned away from an affordable product that provides good quality care is preposterous. in fact, they are being steered to a place where they can get good quality coverage, in many instances much better than the coverage that they had before, at an affordable rate that is afforded by the subsidies that can be available too many, many people. this is what is it so promising about the affordable care act. so i think it is important for people to understand that window is not being shot, they are just being steered somewhere else where they can get a good
opportunity. sebelius: and i think the first option for those companies is they would like to keep you here, here are the plans we are offering. to be fair, customers will have an opportunity to look across a landscape which they couldn't before. they will have entry into those other windows which most of them didn't have a pre-existing condition and about 50% of the market will have financial help and purchasing health insurance which none of them had before. >> mr. griffin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. early in her testimony is that a couple of times plans we enjoy but as you know with the open testimony we are not going to be in the same plan your in after january 1. i was one of those who thought it was a good idea as part of a proposal floating around here in congress that the president and the cabinet secretary ought to also be in the marketplace and not have a special plan that you
will have after january 1. the president while that has been discussed issued a veto threat. did you discuss the veto threat before he made it and made it with intent? and i'd have to ask you relating back to the contractors involved in this, cgi told us the spanish website was ready to go, they thought everything was ready just as they did with the regular site. they were told not to implement it. likewise the shop and browse section was ready to go. do you think they were misleading this committee when they made those comments? sebelius: i think what they believe was that product independent of the entire operational site was ready and tested. what a determination was made, i was involved with the medicaid transfers to say let's minimize the risk for the whole site. >> that raises the next question because the other contractors
indicated to us that part of the problem was once he took away the ability to browse, everybody had to go through the business of setting up an account and you stopped one of the browsing options as well and that contributed to the logjam and contributed to the problems. is he correct on that, not a lot of people can look without having to sign-up, wouldn't it have made it easier for the american people? sebelius: in hindsight that would have been advantageous. the reason the decision was made going forward was to minimize risk. that didn't work too well pit but adding additional feature that stood out involve people wanting to get to what they would independently pay and what they would qualify for and what the plans were seems to be things that could be added down the road. it was wrong. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you, i appreciate it
very much. thank you madam secretary for testifying today. spears, over the week "new york times" wrote the following. project managers of the health and human services usher the white house that any remaining problems could be worked out once the website went live. our other officials producing serious struggle and advised delaying the rollout. can you confirm if this is true? did any senior official predict problems and did any senior department official advice delaying the rollout of the exchange or parts of the exchanges on october 1? sebelius: i can tell you knows you official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay. you heard from the contractors on the 24th that none of them advised a delay. we have tests and that did not advise a delay, so not to my knowledge. >> they said there were serious problems. sebelius: the indicated to me we would always have risk because
the system is brand-new and nobody has operated a system like this before to any degree. so we always knew there would be the possibility that some things would go wrong. nobody indicated this could possibly go this wrong. >> can you name what was that give you that advice? sebelius: again, we had series of meetings with teams from cms. i was always advise it was risk with a new site, but never suggested that we delay the launch of october 1, nor did our contracting partners ever suggest that to us. >> thank you, madam secretary. i yield back. madam secretary, thank you for being here with us today. cms was the integrator of the website, correct? sebelius: that is correct. >> you have now testified he hired an company.
who is that? sebelius: qssi. they built the hub. >> they were not only the developer of the hub and the pipeline, but also an independent tester of the system. you've acknowledged inadequate testing played a significant role in the failed launchcommas aren't you concerned to qssi has lost its ability to be an objective arbitrary administrator? because they are part of the problem. sebelius: no, haven't lost my confidence in them. i think the test and they did is validating the piece of equipment what we said since the launch. we did not do adequate end-to-end testing. that was not the qssi's is possibility. >> will you be paying qssi more than they were to be paid under their original contract? sebelius: that discussion is underway in what the role will
entail, yes, sir. >> hard-working american taxpayers have already paid for this invitation once. do you think it is fair to ask taxpayers to pay more so that qssi can now attempt to do something that the administrator and the cms team were unable to do right the first time? sebelius: the american taxpayers expect us to get the site up and running. >> i'm certain they did. they expected it the first time. sebelius: i understand, and so did i bid we have not expended the funds that have been encumbered for the contracts. we will monitor every time we spend from here on in and preaudit things that are going forward. >> with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. long. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, madam secretary, for being here today and giving your testimony. earlier today you said i am
responsible for implementation e implementation of the affordable care act. i have heard you refer to yourself as a point person for the rollout. you are kind of the point person, are you not, for this rollout? sebelius: yes, sir. >> earlier you were asked about the rollout of this and the affordable care act altogether, but the thing that is most surprising to me is when you have the point person here, and you'ryou are not going to the exchange, i have heard you say you got some advice from behind you, but i'm asking you today can you tell the american public your advisors behind you is a haven't have given you wrong information, if it is possible for you to go into the exchange like all of these volume americans that are going in with the exchanges, will you commit to forgo your government insurance plan that you are on now and join us in the pool?
all of our staff have to go into the exchanges. i was successful during the hearing earlier and i got to the exchange which is where i have to buy from, i got partway through. when i enter my social security number i could not bring myself to do it. buwhat i have heard from folks about the security, it is possible for you, it is possible for you to forgo your government program you have now, will you tell the american public that yes, i will going to the exchanges next year like everybody else? it is a yes or a no. if you are wrong, will you? sebelius: i don't want to give misinformation to the public. >> if you are wrong will you go into the exchanges?
if you can, will you? that is a yes or a no. sebelius: i will take a look at it. >> that is not a yes or no. >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> you will not go into what the rest of the americans have gotten into. sebelius: it is illegal for me. >> it is not illegal. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> i would like madam secretary to answer for the record if you were able to do with the gentleman just suggested or follow the recommendation of our colleague from colorado and went into the individual policy, would you be able to find one that would protect you from cheap shots or do you think it has to be mandated for coverage? i leave it open for your response.
>> we will wait for that response to come back. sebelius: i would gladly go on the exchange of a did not have affordable coverage in my workplace. the d.c. market is an independent state-based market even though d.c. is not a state, we do not run the pc market in the federal marketplace. >> ms. elmers. >> thank you for being with us, madam secretary. i would like to go to the issue that has been raised by my colleagues on the left here about accurate information. number one, i have heard the issue of medicare part d brought up many times although my colleagues all voted no against it, now they are instilling the virtues of medicare part d. is it a mandate or is it voluntary? sebelius: it is voluntary. >> that is a first accurate piece of information i would like to get. we are asking, we are actually
forcing millions of americans to go to find a health care premium in some way whether it is the exchange or if they are to be insured, many of my constituents are reaching out those with individual policies, they are saying to me my rates are going up 400%, i rates are going up 127%. these are my constituents. we're talking about open enrollment, but it is forcing the issue, is it not? that if an american does not have health care coverage, they are essentially breaking the law, is that not correct? sebelius: if someone can't afford coverage and has that option and chooses not to buy coverage, they will pay a fee. >> it is a law, so they are breaking the law. >he also brought up the fact he
fought against discriminatory issues. as far as the essential health benefits, correct me if i am wrong, do men not have to buy maternity coverage? sebelius: policies will cover maternity coverage for the young and healthy. they will have a choice of a catastrophic plan which has no maternity coverage. >> the men are required to? sebelius: an insurance policy has a series of benefits whether you use them or not. >> that is why they are increasing because we are forcing them to buy things they will never need. thank you, madam secretary. of the men often do need maternity coverage for their spouses and for their families, yes. >> single male, age 32, does not need maternity coverage. to the best of your knowledge has a man ever delivered a baby?
>> gentlelady's time has expired. gentlelady, miss cathy mack morris rogers. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary we were told repeatedly if you like your health insurance plan you would be able to keep it we're being told by the government they have determined many existing plans to be lousy subare poor. in reality this law is becoming quickly less about helping americans purchase affordable coverage and more about compelling millions of americans into a struggling medicaid program. in my home state of washington 90% of enrollees will be in medicaid. 16,000 of them coming into a program that they were already he will babble for. colorado, 89%. kentucky, two third. maryland, 97%. this is, these are states already struggling with their budgets, wondering how they're
going to cover medicaid which is, as we all know, for the most vulnerable populations. so isn't it true, that? states like -- in states like washington they will have new unexpected costs associated with a dramatic influx into medicaid? sebelius: congresswoman, the medicaid expansion provision of the affordable care act is -- >> are states going to face new costs? sebelius: federal government pays 100% of cost for first three years and gradually -- >> people already, existing people. we know two out of three doctors don't accept new medicaid patients. we know current provider rates will drop at the enof 2014. so isn't it true that existing medicare, medicaid enrollees are going to further compete for scarce resources in these states? sebelius: if the citizens of washington who are signing up are eligible for medicaid, they
certainly will be entitled to enroll in medicaid now. the newly insured will be -- >> i'm concerned that the most vulnerable in this country are going to lack access to the care that they think they're going to receive. i know time is short. sebelius: that is definitely true. in states choosing not to expand medicaid it is particularly dire. i would love to work with you. >> existing medicaid expansion. finally i wanted to inform the secretary you told us several hours ago when the hearing started that the website was down. if you look at the screen, several hours later, is still down. you promised a system would be ready on october 1st. you're clearly wrong. so before i leave you today i would just impress upon you this is more than a broken website. this is a broken law. millions of americans are getting notices their plans are being canceled. >> gentlelady's time expired. i just, i would do a couple of
things here. first i'm going to ask unanimous consent the written opening statements for any member on the committee be introduced into the record and without objection the documents will be there. also would ask unanimous consent to put the document binder and other documents presented to the secretary during questioning into the record without objection. so ordered. let me just say in conclusion, we do look forward to having you back in december. to get an update on where we are and we'll work with your schedule to find a right time and date early that week. i want you to know we're going to want real numbers. you will have this emby then, is that right, in terms of the sign-up? you will have them next couple weeks? >> that's correct. we'll have them by mid-november. >> we look forward to getting those done. we appreciate, we really do appreciate your time this morning, to take questions. i apologize to all the members
who we had to shorten the time but those things happen when we have this much interest. we look forward to continuing to get an update and look for your continued work. >> mr. chairman? >> yes. >> from our side of the aisle, we want to work with you. and i would hope on the other side of the aisle they would take that same approach. let's do something constructive, not just negative attacks against a bill that i think is going to be a godsend for millions of americans. thank you for being here. >> thank you. hearing is adjourned. jon: the fireworks are over for now on capitol hill. house energy and commerce committee which you heard for the last 2 1/2 hours hearing testimony, 3 1/2 hours. jenna: 3 1/2 hours. time flies when you're having fun. jon: testimony from the secretary of health and human
services kathleen sebellius. good morning or good afternoon now, i'm jon scott. jenna: great to have you here today, everybody. we've been following the hearing last three hours plus. certainly a a lot to get to tod, point i can't sound bites and we'll bring you context what we heard as well. karl rove has been standing by. former white house deputy chief of staff and fox news contributor. thank you for your patience. great to have you join us after the hearing concludes. >> well thanks for having me. jenna: let me just start with this. i've been talking a little bit with our viewers through social media, trying to get their feelings on what is going on with the hearing. here is what fred wrote me. i'm just so sick about the political posturing. i want to hear relevant questions. what do you think is gained after a hearing like this. >> important questions are asked. i think one of the most important series of questions were asked by congressman rogers of michigan regarding the security on the site and what we heard was that the contractors had advised the department that
they were not adequate testing and as a result, people's individual information was at risk. and what we heard was that they had not conducted what's called an end to end test of the site itself to make certain that all the parts once put together and once changed would provide security for people's individual information. jenna: and you think that is the big headline comes out of this is there still a question about security for americans? >> well i think that's one of the headlines. there is another headline, there was an interesting exchange between congressman cory gardner of colorado and the secretary which he said would you join the exchanges just like the rest of us? and she said it was illegal for her to join the exchanges because she was covered as a federal employee. i would ask people to go to i eligible for coverage in the marketplace. each word separated by a dash, back slash.
you will find there her own department says in order to be eligible for health care coverage in the marketplace you must meet three conditions. you must live in the united states of america. you must be a u.s. citizen or national or to be lawfully present, and you can't be currently incarcerated. those are the standards that are on her own when site for entering the exchanges. she appeared today she was unaware she was eligible for the exchanges and in fact she was federal employee didn't keep her from joining exchanges like congressman gardner had done. jenna: i plug that in. i'm geting a sorry we can't find that page on i might have typed it in wrong. i will hand it over to jon. >> i eligible for coverage in the marketplace back slash. jon: always bringing the whiteboard. how does she do? a cabinet secretary doesn't just walk in off the streit and testify. they spend hours and hours being briefed by subordinates being prepared for the moment in the sun, moment in the spotlight was
at times searing. how did she do? >> i think she did fine. there is one other thing they prepare if you're cabinet official. you're people are constantly talking to members of congress from your party on your side of the aisle on the committee of the we saw that today. three things happened. one is every time, they pinged back and forth between republican and democrat and democrats basically were prepared with questions, i suspect she knew they were coming that allowed her to put the best possible face on the program. the second thing is, is that she many filibustered. each time asked a question she would, you know, slow answers, and a elongated and add more words so that everybody on the republican side got to ask fewer questions. take a look at the answers back and forth. when she read, when she was being asked by a democrat more likely to say yes or no or to have a short crisp answer. with republicans she was likely to have longer answer. third thing is is that, i think
she started off on the right tone which was to say i'm in charge. i'm responsible. i'm going to get this done and i'm going to restore your confidence in me by getting it solved. jon: and do you think that is possible? i mean it has been pointed out -- >> no. jon: the problems of of the website are legion but the program and she parroted president's line the program is more than the website? >> yeah. and that's a problem because people, you heard these stories today. people are losing their coverage. people are having to pay higher premiums. people are seeing a huge impact to the bottom line of their family budget and those, and those feelings will remain long after this hearing has faded. jenna: karl, we're going to have to take a quick commercial break. i did type it in right. it is working. so everybody can check out on twitter whether or not they're eligible for insurance. thanks for that point of reference. i apologize for my bad typeing.
>> and the secretary is eligible for that insurance and apparently didn't know it. jenna: i'm sure there i will will be more conversation on that. karl, stay with us if you will for one moment. more on hearing coming up. >> you bet. jenna: a very testy back and forth between two lawmakers at another house hearing between what went wrong with obamacare website. >> it is false choice to say it is obamacare or nothing. there are numerous proposals including one i'm a could sponsor of. >> we've gone through 44 votes, 4votes now you trying to dismantle the legislation. you call that cooperation? jenna: what happened next? what did the congressman from this testy exchange, congressman griffin joined us live, next. [ male announcer ] eligible for medicare?
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call today. remember, medicare supplement insurance helps cover some of what medicare doesn't pay. expenses that could really add up. these kinds of plans could save you in out-of-pocket medical costs. you'll be able to choose any doctor who accepts medicare patients. and there are virtually no referrals needed. so don't wait. with all the good years ahead, look for the experience and commitment to go the distance with you. call now to request your free decision guide. this easy-to-understand guide will answer some of your questions and help you find the aarp medicare supplement plan that's right for you. jenna: well health care is the big story of the day and kathleen sebellius is on the hot seat. 15 minutes ago just ended and this is big hearing about the
obamacare rollout. another hearing yesterday also got heated. marilyn tavenner one set up online exchange was getting grilled. a also a rather testy exchange between two lawmakers about efforts to dismantle obamacare. take a listen. >> what are you going to do about the approximately 17 million children with preexisting conditions who can no longer be denied health insurance coverage? >> will the gentleman yield? >> yes, i will. >> you asked a question. i'm going to answer it. it is a false choice to say it is obamacare or nothing. there are numerous proposals including the one that i'm a cosponsor of. >> i yield back. >> covers preexisting conditions. >> you can sit there and say that you had a legitimate alternative after these years? >> we've gone through 44 votes. 48 votes now of you trying to dismantle the legislation. you call that cooperation? i don't. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i don't call that
cooperation. >> you're asking questions. >> gentleman time's expired. jenna: congressman stayed in his chair, congressman tim griffin reached out to us. bill pascrell who has been friend of the show comes on frequently we look forward to talking to him. congressman, great to have you on the pray. >> thank you for having me. jenna: what happened after that? did you have a chitchat after that? we were wondering what would happen next? >> no, actually, look i don't think anyone on the committee really considered those antics to be serious. i think that was more for the camera and apparently it worked. look, he was talking to the committee as a whole. and he was, he was basically saying what a lot of democrats want the american people to believe and that is, that there are only two options. two options if you're going to deal with preexisting conditions, for example. either obamacare, as it is being implemented or nothing at all. and that is just false. jenna: congressman, if i could,
just to give our viewers a little bit more context, part of what congressman pascrell said, listen, we've been through this before with the medicare prescription plan rolled out by the bush administration. that is something democrats did not support widely but once it was law we all got behind it and his message to the republicans is, where are you? we also heard that today in this hearing. i want to play a little sound from congressman engel, a democrat from new york. >> sure. jenna: here is what he had to say. >> i find it disconcerting that my republican colleagues have done nothing but root for this law to fail for the last 3 1/2 years and now there's a big show of here of being upset at problems with the website. keeping people from signing up, for coverage fast enough. i would just say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, you're really on the wrong side of history here. jenna: congressman, we know of course that the health care law was passed with no republican support, at all, which makes it different from past laws. do you think though, should the
fix to this law, be bipartisan? do you think that is part of what could be good for the country now? >> well, i would say a couple things. first of all the website is just a symptom. eventually, i believe, they will get the website fixed at some point. the problem with this law, it is a washington know best, one size fits all, top-down deal that tells all of the states how they're going to do it. and what it, ultimately is leading to, is, a single-payer system. and in fact a doctor contacted me today and said you know, i'm not hearing it out there but that is what this is doing. and we're this. we're pushing more people out of private insurance, into the exchanges, more people are going to be pushed on to medicaid. and look, i would say to, my colleagues that you just played, i would say, look if you're for
a single-payer system, yeah, you will get behind obamacare and you will be a cheerleader for it but a lost us believe, unlike the bipartisan drug benefit, that you referenced earlier, this law is fundamentally flawed and we have an obligation, if that is in fact our beliefs and the beliefs of our constituents, we have an obligation to continue to make the points that we're making. jenna: congressman, we would love to have you come on to tell us about the legislation you have, the bill. we're short on time. great to have you on the program. we'll continue to follow the story. >> thank you. jenna: great to have you. we have a great panel coming up as well. more discussion on what we heard today on capitol hill next. [ male announcer ] marie callender's knows you may not have time
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>> who is ultimately responsible? it is the president, correct? >> i am responsible for the implementation of the affordable care act. that is what he asked me to do and that is what i will continue to do. >> so you're saying the president is not responsible for hhs? >> sir, i didn't say that. >> okay, so the president ultimately is responsible? while i think it is great you're a team player and you're taking responsibility it is the president's ultimate responsibility, correct? >> you clearly, whatever. yes, he is the president. he is responsible for government programs. jon: health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius testifying this morning in front of a congressional committee, a hearing that got very, very test at this at times. back with us once again, karl rove. the secretary there, sort of falling on her sword in a way saying, yes she's responsible but it is, it's called obamacare. how much of the president's personal prestige is riding on
what we heard today, karl? >> a lot. it does bear his name. and as a result, if there are, if there are problems with its implementation, there are going to be borne on the front steps of the white house. look, the president has a bigger problem than just the website. he has misled the american people with a series of statements about this. monday nbc news came out and said, jeez, here's a revelation, the administration was told in advance people would not be able to keep their existing coverage. i devoted my column on thursday this issue in the "wall street journal" tomorrow morning. this is not a surprise. the at administration knew from letters from the cbo, in december of 2009, february of 2010, and actuaries at hhs in april of 2010, that people were going to be losing their coverage. millions of people would lose their existing coverage of the affordable care act. there are a whole series of other promises like this.
this hearing was a bit of a art, stage craft, if you will. what will really matter is the difference between how people perceive this law and how they thought it was going to be. some people will find a benefit to it. i think a lot more people will find disadvantage to it. >> karl, just real quickly here, the president will be speaking in a couple hours in boston about health care. only 20 seconds here. what would you advise him to say? >> well, i think he ought to end this issue who is responsible by starting by saying i'm responsible. i'm the guy in charge and we've got problems and we're going to get these problems fixed but i suspect we'll hear continue ages what he said in the past which is a whole series of statements about this if you like it you can keep it. it will provide affordable coverage for everybody when 30 million people will be without coverage when law is fully implemented. he has to be careful continuing this string, in my opinion not bearing out in people's mind being true and real. jon: karl rove, thank you.
we'll look for your column. tomorrow. we'll be right back.
our time together was short but sweet. sdmshgs a lot of fireworks on capitol hill. good day everybody. fox news alert. this was the main obama care and throughout the next hour you will see a lot. welcome to hq. i am bill hemmer. >> and i am alisyn camerota. kathleen sebelius facing outrage. >> so let me say directly to the americans, you deserve better and i apologize. >> madame secretary while you are from kansas, we are not in kansas anymore. >> if you quote i price. >> it is hypothetical. >> okay, on the c- plan is a